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Open letter to DOI Secretary Ken Salazar
Oct 19, 2011

An open Letter to Ken Salazar, Secretary U.S. Department of the Interior

Re: National Non-use Valuation Survey (OMB 1090-0010)

KHSA Klamath Dam Destruction

Dear Mr. Salazar,

You have recently made comments in San Francisco indicating in effect that you have made up your mind regarding the destruction of the four Klamath dams in Northern California. To justify your signing of these documents, you have embarked upon a “national survey” regarding this project. It is obvious the survey is of little import to you in the decision process.

The survey is nearly completed and we understand that the results will be made public in December. In Siskiyou County, in Northern California, there has already been an election on this issue that directly affects us. Known as “Measure G,” it was voted on in the November election of 2009. Fourteen thousand votes were cast with 11,229 votes in favor of keeping the dams in place (79.04%). We would be happy to send you the results from our County Clerks office. This of course is not mentioned in your Non-use survey. In fact, there are a lot of issues that aren’t covered in any of the several “survey renditions” that were prepared by your professional team RTI out of Virginia.

The period for public comments to the preparation of the Survey closed on March 18, 2011, yet the only comments received were from those who are looking for a favorable outcome to your survey. In reading those comments, it is pretty clear there was no intention to allow the survey to have any outcome but the one you wanted, i.e., to remove the dams.

The response rate to the different versions has not very good evidently (as of June 2011 there were only 314 responses). As we now hear, those who have yet to respond are to receive $20 to compensate them for turning in their survey or just responding to a telephone call survey as to why they didn’t respond. Somehow, this just doesn’t seem right — our government spending taxpayer money to “influence” voters in a survey of this magnitude, considering the awful effects it will have on the rural citizens of Northern California, particularly Siskiyou County.

The survey itself is not logical. A “NON-USE VALUATION” survey is similar to saying “if the moon was made of blue cheese what would its value be to those who don’t eat blue cheese”. It is only logical to someone who desires to control the outcome of the survey making up the rules as they go. A survey of such importance — that does mention the eventual cost (closer to $2 Billion dollars), the impact of the local community, the impact on the lives of those who will have to suffer the consequences, or a County Government that has been beset over and over again by Federal and State “takings” of rights and property – cannot claim to be a fair representation of informed public opinion. What happened to President Obama’s recent (June 2011) entreaty in support of rural communities?

RTI has been very clever in putting the survey together and calling it a random survey, picking only 12,400 households out of a total of 112,600,000. That is about .0001%, which is hardly a compelling statistical population pool.

The survey itself, in terms of information given to a respondent to support a considered opinion, is structured in such a way that the respondent has no opportunity to understand the true facts of the situation. A couple of examples in point would include the fact that the Coho Salmon is not indigenous to the area, as it was planted in the early nineteen hundreds. The Coho are certainly not an endangered species (despite being listed in the ESA) as they are found in great numbers all the way along the coast up into the Bering Straits. In fact, there are a number of significant gaffs or manipulated information with regard to the scientific evidence presented in the survey booklet. Amongst suggestions received by RTI in revising the survey document, are comments made by PacifiCorp in the Van Ness Feldman letter of March 18, 2011 that included nearly 39 in total.

Comment #29:

Pacificorp comments:

The survey assumes that implementation of the KBRA and KHSA will cost households an additional $48 per year for 20 years. We expect the reason the survey presents a number is not to represent an actual cost estimate but to illustrate a rough magnitude of household costs and elicit a response whether the costs are worth it. Nonetheless, the number should bear some semblance to reasonably foreseeable costs.


“The goal of the survey is to evaluate the public’s maximum willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the incremental environmental improvements compared to the status quo.”

Another instructional comment made by RTI in response to a suggestion by PacifiCorp to clarify the document description regarding the No-Action Plan is the following:

“The Survey is not a referendum on the KBRA and the No-Action plan is not supposed to represent the variety of outcomes that might occur if there were no KBRA or KHSA.”

The comments go on and on. It is clear from the responses from RTI, they are not interested in giving the survey respondents the complete and true facts in order to make a decision in the matter. So, I say to you, in my opinion, the survey is “bogus”. The fact is Mr. Secretary that apparently the issue is not about saving the fish or destroying the dams. It is about transferring nearly $1.7 Billion taxpayer dollars to various environmental groups and a few Native American tribes through the KBRA.

Sincerely yours

Richard Marshall

Marshall Ranch

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